The greatest piece of advice my best friend ever gave me was this:
"You can't choose who your friends are, only who your friends aren't"
It's a phrase that he uttered to me during one of our many late-night hang out sessions in front of his house, where we would often discuss the many aspects of the human condition, perspectives and the world we exist in.
I’m not sure if that was a concept he had previously thought about, or if he said it without much thought and in passing, but it was one of those things you hear somebody say that instantly changes your perspective.
It was an instance where the frustrations from social interactions, or lack thereof, that I had experienced for most of my life suddenly started to make sense.
There will probably be many instances in your life when you wish with every fiber of your being to be accepted into some group or strive for someone’s affection (friendships, work groups, intimate relationships, etc.).
While you may lead yourself into believing that this is something you have complete control over, the harsh reality of the matter is that, at best, you may only have the power to will half of that acceptance into existence; the rest is up to the other person.
You can’t make people like you; you can only strive to put yourself in the best possible position to validate why you belong in other people's lives, or choose not to pursue any kind of interaction with somebody or a group of people at all.
It really is unfortunate when, despite how hard you may try to show people, or a person, how important they are to you, they just don’t come around to see the value you possess.
There is beauty in realizing this, however, as you start to appreciate the people who actually want to be a part of your life.
You realize that with some people, you don’t have to be anything but yourself to be important to them.
They want to be a part of your world and positively reinforce you and what you stand for, and voice concern when some of the things you stand for are destructive.
They look out and optimize whatever capacity for positive energy you are capable of and encourage you to emit that energy into the universe. And the only thing they want in return is your happiness.
Not every relationship you have is going to be mutual. Some of them, or a lot of them, may be one-sided.
There isn’t anything necessarily wrong with that so long as you accept the frustrations that come along with those kinds of relationships and your inability to ever truly be able to influence a person or a group of people's opinions of you.
Perhaps taking the time to really sit down, appreciate and invest more time into the people you may be taking for granted could really benefit you.
It might make you see everything so much clearer, and give you the positive energy to dominate each day and be a happier person.
Don’t give what is not wanted, and don’t waste energy when that energy will be wasted. Keep the players who actually want to be on your team and facilitate and reinforce the relationships with individuals who only want to hold you up, not bring you down.
Photo Courtesy: Flickr/Celeste Aparicio